We’re still in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and will be for a while. The devastation from over 40 inches of rain and the huge surge of Gulf water into the area has inundated hundreds of thousands of homes and displaced more than 30,000 people. While more than 17,000 have been rescued, we still do not know what the death toll will be.
And now Hurricane Irma.
Can’t God stop a hurricane?
As a Christian, I believe that God is sovereign. That means that he is in control. He is in charge. Jesus reassured us that even a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without our Heavenly Father caring about it. So what about these hurricanes? Does God care more about a sparrow than the people of Texas and Florida?
Jesus did not say that the Father would keep the sparrow from falling. In fact, he told his followers that we will face great difficulty (John 16:33). Tragedy was also a reality when Jesus was on the earth and he didn’t prevent it all. There were hurricanes and typhoons, tornadoes, volcanoes and earthquakes then as well. He did calm the storm, one time. But there were a lot of storms going on in Palestine in his lifetime. He didn’t calm all of them. Why doesn’t he always intervene?
In the Book of Genesis, we learn that God gave the responsibility to care for the earth to Adam in the Garden. Do you remember what Adam and Eve did with it? They turned it over to God’s enemy, Satan. When sin came into the picture, this world came under the evil one’s domain, and corruption over all of creation ensued. That’s why Jesus referred to Satan as “the god of this world.”
Today, we live in a fallen world, ruled by the enemy of God. Through Jesus, he has paid the ransom necessary for our reconciliation and this world’s redemption (Romans 8). He could retake and remake the world right now without all of the evil, natural disasters and suffering. All of that, being under his sovereignty, could be dealt with in an instant, and it will be some day. But the Apostle Peter said that God was holding out to give more people opportunity to respond to his offer of salvation (2 Peter 3:9). It is by his mercy that he is patient. In the meantime, we live in a world that is filled with very real trouble, because it is under another temporary ruler.
The Lord does not leave us alone in it, however. He promised to be present with us and to walk with us through our greatest trials. And he has asked us to be his representatives to help others in their time of need.
Yes, God could stop a hurricane. And I don’t have all the answers as to why he sometimes intervenes and other times does not. But I do know this, he has called us to intervene on his behalf wherever people are suffering. We don’t have to go to Houston or Florida to do that (though some of us may). You probably have a co-woker, neighbor, or family member who could use you right now.